Monthly Archives: September 2013
The 7th Atari 2600 Friday Fortune Cookie brings us ‘Spider Fighter’.
The Story: Apparently the game box is full of spiders, spiders who want your fruit. It’s up to you to stomp ’em, smite ’em, and fight ’em with all your might. If you don’t, they wont just get your fruit, they’ll get you!
From the Manual: “The object of the game is to protect your fruit orchard from insect fruit thieves, scoring points by exterminating the attackers.”
From the Box: “Conceived and designed by Larry Miller. For one Spider Fighter at a time. Now, don’t get itchy, but there are bugs inside this box. Lots and lots and lots of creepy, crawly, pesky spiders. And, they want your fruit. Your plump grapes, juicy oranges, picture-perfect strawberries, and, oh-my-gosh, there go your bananas! You’ve got to stop ’em. Got to stomp ’em. Got to smite ’em and fight ’em with all your might. Because if you don’t, they won’t just get your fruit, they’ll get you! Spider Fighter. No Joke. No picnic. A real knockdown, dragout spider fight – from Activision.”
The Game Play: Spider Fighter is a shooter in the line of games like Space Invaders. You can move left and right only, and the button fires at enemies. You have a fruit orchard, which you need to keep the spiders from getting too. There are four types of fruit: oranges, grapes, strawberries and banana’s. Four waves attack oranges, grapes and strawberries, then an unlimited wave attacks banana’s. Each wave starts with three fruit and four master nest’s. You get four lives and each wave you complete where all your fruit remains gets you get an extra life.
The Controls: Left, Right movement, red button to fire.
Post Review: Well the first try I made it to grapes, and the second I made it as far as wave three on strawberries. The enemies move fast and erratically. A lot of my prolonging so long came from the extra lives at the end of the waves, they really help a lot. If you can avoid being hit, I’m sure you could last forever. Overall, it really isn’t an overly hard game. I feel if I play enough I could get the 40,000 points that would have net me a patch. Spider Fighter is one of the short list of 2600 games that if you beat Atari’s challenge and sent them a pic of your screen you would receive a patch. Which looks like this:
Anyways, Until next week when we’ll look at another Atari 2600 Game.
The High Score: 9840
Again, not a game. Something better, a Top-loader NES. It only cost $45 and came with an equally perfectly working dog bone controller. What a steal! The prefect replacement for that stupid Yobo Clone. at least until the Retron 5 comes out, and even then it is necessary to play games like Castlevania 3 and Battletoads that don’t work on clones.
We have another round of Atari Friday’s coming your way. This week’s fortune cookie revealed ‘Demons To Diamonds’.
The Story: According to the game box itself, you are at a cosmic carnival where a non stop talk demon challenges you to a new game. You control a moving laser base which changes the demons into either a diamond or a skull. Collect the diamonds to score points, but watch out for the skulls.
From the Manual: “You and your best friend are spending a super Saturday at the Cosmic Carnival. So far you’ve done all the usual things. Now you’re restlessly looking around for a new thrill–something exciting and different, some competitive skill sport. Suddenly you hear a taunting voice coming from the vicinity of Target Skill Gallery. “Whoa, let’s see what that’s about!” you say as you make a sharp left and jog off in the direction of the high pitched speech. The non-stop voice belongs to a squat, two-food tall demon parading back and forth in front of a huge, vertical shooting range. “Hey you!” squeaks the demon, pointing directly at you. “Would you like to command a laser base? Like to hit targets and score points? Are you looking for fun, excitement–a game in which you must dodge danger? We are the demons and we dare you to try your laser-sharpshooting skills on us! We’re full of surprises. We sidestep all over the shooting range. We yak at you until you shut us up. We change into new target forms– precious diamonds or deadly skulls. Hit a diamond and you’ll score a small fortune in bonus points. But beware of skulls! “So come on, reach for your laser, exercise your trigger finger on us. Put us through our paces and we’ll dazzle you with demonic tricks!””
From the Box: “At the Cosmic Carnival a squat, non stop talk demon dares you to play a new target game. You control a moving laser base. You aim and fire at demons who parade back and forth in front of you. Whenever you hit a demon it changes into a diamond or skull. Shoot a diamond to score precious points. But watch out for those skulls – they’re deadly! Play alone or against an opponent.”
The Game Play: For this game, we have to use the paddle controllers. Use the paddle to move the base left and right, and press the button to fire the laser. You can control how far the laser goes by holding the button for longer or shorter. The demons appear at different rows and cross the screen. We only want to attack the demons that are the same color as our base, this is how we get diamonds. If we attack the other colors they transform into skulls that can shoot back. The skulls are invincible, but eventually disappear. The player gets five lives to collect as many diamonds as they can.
The Controls: Paddle controllers for left right movement, red button to fire laser.
Post Review: So the story is basically an evil alien carny trying to get you to play his game. Well, the game play sounds simple enough at least. The game is as simple to control as it sounds, side to side movement, and a laser length controlled by holding the button. the demons move pretty slowly at first, but do increase in both movement and spawn speed over time. It took me a bit to figure out what the diamonds were. The diamond appear on the side of the screen and move across the screen like the demons do, appearing on whatever level and side the demon you killed appeared on. The other thing I notice is that when I shoot the wrong color into a skull, I almost always get hit instantly. Seemingly on of the better games on the 2600, definitely go try it out.
The High Score: 1375
In a strange turn of events, this weeks fortune cookie told me to play Video Pinball. Why is this strange? because we happened to be playing Video Pinball at over at The Obsessive Compulsive Gamer’s apartment last weekend. Video Pinball was also available on a standalone console along with Basketball and Breakout. There were three versions of this console, a white colored one, a wood grained one, and a Sears Tele-games model named Pinball Breakaway. Atari seems to have also released a Coin-op Arcade Machine in 1978.
The Story: It’s pinball. We all know it’s pinball. There was no point to even make up a story. Let’s get right to the game play.
From the Manual: “How many of you out there have always longed to be a pinball wizard? It’s a good bet that some of the places you had to go to play a game of pinball weren’t the most comfortable for you. Well, relax. Since you were wise enough to invest in this ATARI (r) VIDEO PINBALL TM Game Program TM, you’ll never have to worry about being at places with that kind of unsavoury atmosphere again. VIDEO PINBALL has the challenge and the excitement of standard pinball games, and it doesn’t have any idea what a quarter is. So not only are you spared the unpleasant task of stuffing quarters into hungry machines, you have the comfort and the well-being of your home. What more could a pinball enthusiast ask for? And as for you pinball wizards, don’t think you can master this one lickety-split. It’ll be a while before your wiz rating is restored and in full swing. Just in case you’re a pinball rookie, there’s only one thing you need to know. You’re going to love it. You may have stayed away from the more traditional places of pinball habitation in the past, but now you’re going to see why so many other people have gone goofy with “pinball madness”. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably catch the fever yourself within about 20 minutes. So take a deep breath, turn up the stereo, and jump right into VIDEO PINBALL. One more thing. Better get yourself a piggy bank for all those quarters you’re going to save.”
From the Box: no information beyond player count and which controller to use.
The Game Play: Now stay with me here, this is very simple. One, you pull the plunger by holding down on the joystick, then press the button to launch it. Left on the joystick moves the left flipper, while right on the joystick moves the right flipper. Up will move both flippers at the same time. You can nudge the table by holding the button and moving the joystick in a direction. Okay, take a look at the image of the game screen below. Plunger on the right, lose your ball on the left and middle between flippers. The two white third circle things spin to flick your ball around. The two lower squares and the middle on on the top row are bumpers. The Diamond on top (one of three that will exist) increases the bumper value by one when you have hit all three. There is a special target that appears between the bumpers on the button occasionally for extra points. Get your ball through the slot one the left increases it’s value. Going over the Atari logo on the right four times gives you an extra ball. There is both an easy mode and a hard mode for 2 players, and also carry over mode which determines whether the multiplier is carried from one ball to the next or not. The only difference for hard mode is two extra holes to lose your ball in. That’s it, very simple, lets play.
The Controls: Down to launch ball. Left Joystick for left flipper, right for right flipper, up for both flippers. red button plus direction to nudge.
Post Review: I’m not sure what to say about Video Pinball here that hasn’t been said above. It is definitely not one of the better Pinball games. It can be entertaining for a while, but you quickly realize the ball can spend long periods without going anywhere near the flippers. The game works great, but it has minimal input from the player per my experience. Well, there we have it, one of the earliest experiences of a pinball video game.
The High Score: 30929
Not much this week, Had a few minutes before D&D today so I stopped by Gamers to exchange an Atari 2600 controller. They didn’t have one, but I did find three Master System games:
Montezuma’z Revenge: Featuring Panama Joe
Ghost House, a Sega Card game.
These are my first Master System games, the ones we had so far all belonged to the girlfriend.